Less than two weeks before the event, we spoke to Amelco Head of Commercial Sean Hurley about the company’s tailored systems for sports betting, a trading shift towards third parties and what he expects #boscon2017 delegates to learn about its services at Olympia Conference Centre.
SBC: Amelco has an interesting background developing tailored systems for betting and financial trading. Can you detail for SBC readers your company’s journey and services?
SH: Amelco was born out of a history of building software solutions for pricing, trading and execution platforms offering electronic brokering services to the global banking sector. For the last 10 years Amelco has been supplying bespoke enterprise sports betting and trading platforms to some of the biggest bookmakers in the world. Coming from a background of building financial systems has enabled Amelco to build extremely reliable and robust solutions with the ability to be able to consume and process an incredible amount of data in real time.
This experience has aided with the development and deployment of the some of the most sophisticated products available in the market which has made us the supplier of choice for multi territory tier one operators. All our development and operations are run from our home in the city of London, utilising the best technical talent available to supply the most cutting edge modular and end to end solutions in the industry.
SBC: You are targeting growth within the betting sector at a time when operators are re-evaluating their sportsbook suppliers. What is your approach to servicing industry stakeholders?
SH: Our approach is simple, flexibility. Too often operators are told what they can and can’t do with their brands by suppliers and in such a saturated marketplace it’s crucial that operators can differentiate themselves as much as possible. From a front-end perspective, we enable you to fully customise the look and feel of your brands, this is very evident in the fact that you would be hard pushed to find two Amelco clients with offerings that look remotely similar.
As well as being able to give the client the power to fully dictate the styling of their brands, we also have a fully responsive CMS which is made available to each operator. Through the CMS the operator can create pages for each of their brands, dynamically change the layout, schedule promotions, manage bonuses plus many other features. Our operators really value this aspect of the product; it enables them to be able to instantly make changes without having to issue change requests.
Although the frontend sportsbook is very important, the flexibility of the Amelco solution really does stem from our industry leading trading platform. The Amelco Trading System (ATS) is used extensively by tier one operators, of which several them are now multi brand and manage their entire trading operation from a single version of ATS.
ATS gives the operator the power to create unlimited channels and segments which can then be configured to feed a different product to multiple front-end sportsbooks, this includes different legislation, events, markets, margins etc.
For example, a multi territory operator can have a totally different offering in the UK, Russia, Africa and Asia. Included in this is the ability to if they wish to use different feeds and third parties per channel. All risk and trading can then be consolidated and managed centrally or broken up and handled segment by segment, it all just depends on how the operator wants to manage their business.
SBC: Is trading still a key domain for industry bookmakers, or has this shifted to third parties?
SH: I think this really depends on the bookmaker, there are so many variables from the size of the operator to the territories they are targeting that come into play. For small to medium sized bookmakers, third parties are often unavoidable due to the costs involved in acquiring models, the trading tools and the actual traders to enable keeping everything in house.
So, in these circumstances opting for a third-party provider makes logical sense especially when you are looking to offer the peripheral low volume sports where the benefit of investing in specialist traders just doesn’t make financial sense.
At Amelco, we have our own in-house London based trading team using proprietary Amelco models but this service is treated as an additional module and the operator is under no obligation to take this. We also give the operator the ability to choose to use any of the third-party trading providers we have integrated in our platform, so the operator can build the trading solution that works best for them.
The sophistication of ATS even allows the operator to mix and match feeds and third parties across various channels. We have a number of operators who use ATS and the tools that come with the module but they then choose to handle all of the day to day trading themselves and have no third-party involvement other than data feeds.
We have operators who use a hybrid approach and keep aspects in house but outsource fragments too. We also have operators who outsource all their trading, so we just listen to requirements and then configure the solution accordingly. Taking flexibility to an even higher level, we also give the operator the ability to build their own algos and integrate them into our trading engine using our black boxed environment to ensure all IP is protected.
The beauty of working with Amelco is you can have the best of both worlds. You can maximise third parties as much as you require, but also take control on an ad hoc basis if you really want to own certain sports / leagues / events which are especially important to you. Nothing is set in stone either, you can start off with a fully outsourced solution and then gradually take more and more control as your business grows.
SBC: From a leadership perspective, what future technologies and user trends do you feel will have the biggest impact on trading?
SH: When thinking about the next 12-18 months it’s hard to ignore how important social media and the “request a bet” feature is going to continue be. The reach that some of the larger Facebook affiliates have across their network of Facebook groups is incredible.
These groups have the power to have huge positive and negative effects on bookmaker margins when they push a promo or a specific bet. The player acquisition and retention arms race between marketing departments continues to produce insane price boosts on what feels like a daily basis. Although the losses from these promotions will no doubt be apportioned as marketing costs, they ultimately do disrupt the underlying trading margins as well as the trading teams in the process.
Conversely the “request a bet” phenomenon can have incredibly positive affects to trading margins. Traders are able to bake in great margins to these requests and due to the inherent uniqueness of each of these bets there is no real way to price compare, that is of course in the rare instance that a punter requesting such a bet might be price sensitive anyway.
From an Amelco perspective, we continue to give operators the ability to be as creative as they require with creating promotions and we also have the ability to let operators build their own bets and publish them on site, that is even if they have decided to take our fully managed trading solution. Also, being exclusively a B2B provider we work to our operators’ requirements. We have no ownership stake in any B2C provider so we remain extremely independent and beholden to develop new features in line with our operators’ individual road maps.
SBC: What do you want delegates to learn about Amelco services at the upcoming Betting on Sports conference?
SH: Although Amelco have been supplying cutting edge enterprise trading and sportsbook solutions to some of the biggest household tier one names in the industry for the last 10 years, we have remained relatively under the radar. So, we are just looking to introduce our products to the wider industry and explore ways in which we can help operators fulfil their aspirations.